Dear fitness influencers, stop shaming each other

When I first got on Instagram to share my fitness journey, I was so excited of all the possibilities of learning from other people. I wanted to keep up with all my favorite fitness influencers and what they were doing. However, over the recent months that I have been active as what you would call an “influencer” I started to feel more confused and unsure about myself more than ever. This post is what I wish someone had told me when I was still starting my fitness journey.

There is an influx of ideas presented to you at every minutes on social media. For this reason, I was so quick to believe everyone’s way of healthy living that I forgot what fitness meant to me. With so many ideas thrown at me, I felt like I couldn’t do anything right.

I. was. stuck.

I felt bad for every choices I made because X said this and Y said contrary. But after going through roller coasters of emotions, I finally found the source of this issue.

Let’s stop shaming each other because we all have different methods.

Although I love the fitness community on Instagram, sometimes I see a lot of toxic ideas being imposed on viewers.

“Don’t do intermittent fasting, it’s too restricting”

“Intermittent fasting is the only way if you want to see results”

“Get the latest trends so you’ll look good”

“Don’t get the latest trends. It’s a trap”

“Eat what you want life is too short”

“Eat only a certain amount of food”

Does that sound familiar?

Yes, all of these can be toxic even though they seem to come from a caring place. While all those ideas are great, a lot of times we misinterpret what the point of fitness is. You see… what’s wrong with those statements is not the idea itself, but the imposing belief that a lot of “influencers” put on their followers because they believe it is the only way to live a healthy lifestyle.

The reality is, people have different temptations. You might be self-disciplined enough to eat at regular times. There are people who don’t have that self-discipline, so they need to do intermittent fasting in order to regulate their eating schedule. Intermittent fasting is not the the issue here here, but it becomes issue when people deem it as if this is the only way.

The reality is, people have different temptations

I have been a victim of all these influences. Whenever I heard from “don’t do intermittent fasting,” on someone’s post or story, I quickly felt guilty for doing intermittent fasting. As a result, I would go and binge eat snacks from the pantry and later even feel more ashamed of myself for having given up on my goal.

For me (and for a lot of others) intermittent fasting isn’t about restriction as much as people think. It is about having self- discipline. It is about building better habits around food. It is about controlling my actions rather than letting my impulses control me.

While this method works for me, it is also important to acknowledge that it might be restricting for other people who have a different temptations around food. By restricting certain windows of hours during the day, those people end up eating more, which is why eating whenever they want feels adequate for them.

Our truth is not everyone’s truth

The point is: there is no right or wrong. There is only what works for you and it is up to you to find that out.

Let’s take another toxic idea…

“Get the latest trends so you’ll look good and confident!”

“Don’t get the latest trends. It is a trap”

You might feel good in new workout clothes but that doesn’t mean that everyone does or should. Likewise, if you like working out in baggy clothes, don’t shame those who like to wear matching sets. There is nothing wrong with either choices.

“Get the latest trends so you’ll good”

If your reasoning behind “getting the latest trends” is to hide your insecurities and appear like someone you’re not, I’m sorry to break it to you– but it will only bring you temporary happiness. If you only attach your confidence to wearing new gym clothes, I encourage you to think about how you view yourself when you are not wearing those clothes.

Some people mistake the feeling of wearing new clothes with confidence while the reality is that confidence comes from within. Confidence is who you are even when those clothes are off. It is what you think of yourself deep within. Let’s stop masking our insecurities with clothes and deal with the real root of our issues.

“Don’t get the latest trends. It’s a trap”

I won’t lie, sometimes I have judged people who would jump on the train of sales and throw themselves at commercials from companies that are taking away hundreds of dollars from broke college students just because they feel as if they need it in order to look good on the ‘gram. But ask yourself why it bothers you. Are you jealous because you cannot afford those clothes?

Often times, what we point in others is often a reflection of our deepest insecurities inside.

Are you putting your insecurities onto other people because you are worried that you will not look good in those clothes as much as them? Often times, what we point in others is often a reflection of our deepest insecurities inside. It is a reflection of our issues that we have not dealt with and instead of dealing with it, most people lash it on to others.

 Let’s be kind and open-minded human beings.

Let’s stop assuming that our temptations are the same as everyone else. 

Let’s stop judging others and start asking ourselves what is it that we need to deal with internally. All these solutions work for different people. Be open minded and don’t mock someone else for doing what works for them. 

Instead of cancelling others because they differ in opinions with you, acknowledge their ideas and move on!

You don’t know their battle. You don’t know their struggles; you don’t know what they are dealing with internally. Accept people as they are and be open to the fact that you might not always be right. Instead of cancelling others because they differ in opinions with you, acknowledge their ideas and move on!

*THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL*

Here is a way you can change:

If you are easily influenced, remember what is true for you. Acknowledge what others are saying and be glad for them. Don’t change yourself because your favorite influencer is doing something that works for him or her. Know yourself enough to know what works for you and what doesn’t. Do not be prone to lower your standards to follow the majority1

If you want to try their way to see if it works for you, by all means, do so. But if it does not work for you, don’t force yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for it. Embrace the fact that you are unique and although your favorite influencer may want to help you, you know yourself best. Follow people who challenge you to be a better person, not people who are complacent with mediocrity. Trust yourself and don’t doubt your instincts. It will never steer you wrong. 

If you are a strongly opinionated influencer, try to understand the other side and acknowledge that your way isn’t the only way. Be accepting of those with different ideologies than you. Just because they are different doesn’t mean that they are wrong. Of course, if you need to establish a fact to educate, please do so. But do so, not in a defensive way with rage and anger, but with kindness and gentleness. The world is already dark enough. Bring light into this world not confusion. 

Make sure you are not discrediting others’s opinions just because you don’t agree with them (unless there is a factual error).

Let’s make social media social and not toxic media

Here are some Bible verses to enlighten you.

  1. Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Galatians 5:14-15

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

Remember this is not to judge you. I have had my fair share of mistakes in the past and I am an imperfect person just like you. This post is what I wish someone had told me when I was still starting my fitness journey. I was so prone to other’s people ideas that I lost myself in the process. I hope that by reading this you realize that there is more to this world than just your ways, your ideology. Let’s be kind to each other.

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